Persona 3 Reload First Impressions

Seven years ago, Persona 5 forever altered the public consciousness. One of the most acclaimed and influential games of the past decade, it was being played in college dorms all across the country. While this was most people’s introduction to the Persona series (itself apart of the broader Shin Megami Tensei universe), Persona 3 was another landmark entry in the series, releasing in 2006 on PlayStation 2.

While the original P3 was made available on most modern consoles this past year, it is very outdated, consisting mostly of 2D animations and a lack of voice acting. Persona 3 Reload is a from the ground up remake in wonderfully stylized 3-D, with full voice acting and many quality of life improvements. The game now much more closely resembles its older brother Persona 5 Royal.

Unless one has been living under a rock for the better part of the last decade, one would know that playing a Persona game is basically like watching an anime, along with life simulator elements and Pokémon style turn based combat with huge dungeons in between. Persona 3 Reload follows this addictive formula, with plenty of unique twists.

In Persona 3 Reload, the player starts as a transfer student moving into a new dorm before the first day of class. As many on campus can probably relate to, the player starts out not really knowing anyone. As the game progresses however, the player meets many new friends through the social link system. Growing closer to friends by hanging out together, attending clubs, and even going on dates is critical to strengthening your combat abilities.

As one of very few people with the power to wield “Personas”, the player is recruited by his (sadly the game lacks a female protagonist which was originally an option in Persona 3 FES) dorm mates to join S.E.E.S, a group of Persona users who are dedicated to fighting the demonic “shadows” that ravage Japan during the “Dark Hour”, a hidden 13th hour that occurs every night at midnight.

Without spoiling too much, the story lasts for approximately 70 hours. This may seem daunting to new players, but the journey beats the destination. Persona 5 tells players to “take your time”, and that holds true for Persona 3 Reload as well. P3R also has banger after banger on its soundtrack, so just leaving it on in the background and vibing while you study is a good move.

Persona 3 Reload is now available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. Hopefully a Nintendo Switch port will be coming soon as well, but it has not been announced yet. Keep following BUNow for more gaming news!